2. Offering for the People
After all of the directions in the early chapters of Leviticus, it is in Chapter 9 that the theory is put into practise with offerings being made for the people.
Lev 9:1: It happened on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel; 2. and he said to Aaron, "Take a calf from the herd for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before Yahweh. 3 You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, `Take a male goat for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both a year old, without blemish, for a burnt offering; 4. and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before Yahweh; and a meal offering mixed with oil: for today Yahweh appears to you.'" WEB
So God was to appear to them that day. This isn't something to idly read over, it was truly a significant occasion, and something that the people would have been excited about.
For that day there was a specific procedure laid out, with a series of sacrifices. There was to be
- sin offering
- burnt offering
- peace offering
- grain offering
Lev 9:5: They brought what Moses commanded before the Tent of Meeting: and all the congregation drew near and stood before Yahweh. 6. Moses said, "This is the thing which Yahweh commanded that you should do: and the glory of Yahweh shall appear to you." WEB
Here we see laid out a principle. It was one of obeying the commandment to see the glory. This was a specific situation where this was to occur, but also operated as a more general principle. People have continually been called to obedience, and in doing so will live to see the glory of God.
Leviticus 9 records the process of Aaron making the sacrifices in accordance with the instructions given earlier. After following all of the procedure and making the offerings, he blessed the people and went down from the altar.
After that, we see the first response from God, when fire came down from heaven. As we would expect, the fire had the people in awe.
Lev 9:22: Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people, and blessed them; and he came down from offering the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings. 23. Moses and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of Yahweh appeared to all the people. 24. There came forth fire from before Yahweh, and consumed the burnt offering and the fat upon the altar: and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces. WEB
This display of God's glory at the end of the event is striking in that really it wasn't until the end. Right through the long procedure there wasn't a response from God. There wasn't a direct indication of whether he was happy with the procedure, or even whether he was interested. The striking display of the fire at the end of the proceedings emphasises by contrast the lack of God's visible reaction during the rest of the event.
Aaron and the people had to maintain faith and expectation throughout the day, based on just following the earlier instruction. They had been promised that God would appear, but first they needed to go through the procedure. It was only at the end of that that they would see the result.
This is a familiar pattern with God. He requires us to have a faith in him, a faith that he will do as he has promised.